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Features April 2016 Issue

Dr. Google,  Paging Dr. Google

If the dog in this photo looks skeptical, maybe it's because her owner is getting advice on how to treat whatever ails her from the Internet.

Dr. Google, Paging Dr. Google

Why using the Internet to “write” a prescription can spell trouble for your dog's health.

“Many pet owners love to consult Dr. Google,” says Tufts veterinarian Alicia Karas, DVM, facetiously. Not that she doesn’t understand the allure.

“It’s tempting,” she comments, right there at your fingertips. “It’s free,” she adds. “And it seems spot on. ‘My dog is limping — how can I get her through this without a visit to the vet? Ah, here’s the answer.’”

The problem, Dr. Karas says, is that not even the best pet-related sites on the Internet can walk you through how to take care of your own particular dog with his own particular circumstances. There are just too many variables. The issue gets particularly serious when it comes to dispensing drugs.

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